The Lazarus Effect: Rejuvenation of Leaf-Senescent Seedlings in a Rare Grassland Perennial

By Vickery, Peter D.; Sulzer, Andrea M. et al. | The American Midland Naturalist, January 1999 | Go to article overview

The Lazarus Effect: Rejuvenation of Leaf-Senescent Seedlings in a Rare Grassland Perennial


Vickery, Peter D., Sulzer, Andrea M., Kelly, Sharon, The American Midland Naturalist


ABSTRACT.-Over 75% of the seedlings of the endemic sandplain grassland perennial, northern blazing star (Liatris scariosa var novae-ang/iae), die within their first growing season. During a study of the reproductive ecology of this rare plant, we found 17 seedlings whose leaves had become completely desiccated and brown and were classified as dead. Upon subsequent inspection, we discovered that these seedlings had developed a new shoot with green leaves. We have called this rejuvenation "the Lazarus effect." These seedlings became dormant by late June, which coincided with extended periods of drought, and were senescent for periods of 410+ wk. Rejuvenation of leaf-senescent seedlings occurred in late July and August, coincident with periods of increased precipitation. Surivorship of "Lazarus" seedlings to their second summer (9 of 17, 53%) was similar to survivorship of "normal" seedlings (=58%) which did not senesce. Thus, becoming senescent did not have undue costs to survivorship.

INTRODUCTION There are at least three forms of dormancy in plants: seed dormancy, bud dormancy, bud dormanqr and stressinduced dormancy (Jensen and Salisbury, 1972; Raven et al., 1992). Seed dormancy is a condition where a seed does not germinate for a period of time, usually years, rarely as long as 50 y. Bud dormancy refers to the period before a leaf or flower bud develops into a leaf or flower (Jensen and Salisbury 1972). Stress-induced dormancy is frequently the result of harsh environmental conditions, such as drought, and in deciduous plants often involves premature leaf-senescence (Raven et al., 1992). This condition may be short-term, i.e., a matter of weeks or several months in response to drought or periodic dry seasons (Janzen, 1983). However, after improved environmental conditions, a second set of leaves can appear in the same growing season in temperate regions (e.g., Baskin et al., 1981). Conversely, dormancy may persist for several years, as with some orchids, although it is unclear whether this dormancy is stress-induced (Arditti, 1992).

We report observations of seedlings of an herbaceous grassland perennial becoming dormant as a result of premature leaf-senescence, apparently in response to severe drought, and then breaking dormancy and growing new leaves in the same season. We have termed this response "the Lazarus effect," because in the New Testament, Lazarus, dead for four days, was restored to life (Johnll). To our knowledge, rejuvenation of stress-induced dormant seedlings has not been previously reported, although it probably occurs in a number of plant species adapted to stressful, especially xeric, habitats. METHODS Study site and plant biology.-The study site, located on a 210 ha sandplain grassland in Kennebunk, York County, ME, supports a rare assemblage of plants and animals, including the largest known population of northern blazing star (Liatris seosa var novae-angliae = Liatris borealis) in New England (see Vickery et al., 1992). For the past 3 y we have been studying the effects of fire on the reproductive ecology of northern blazing star at this site. Northern blazing star, a rare grassland perennial in the family Asteraceae, is usually found in early successional habitats such as sandplain grasslands, xeric heathland and pitch pine (Pinus rigida) openings in the northeastern United States (Hamilton, 1991). In 1994-96, we individually marked 856 northern blazing star seedlings to determine seedling survivorship and recruitment. Seedlings were marked in early June and were checked approximately every two weeks.

In southern Maine, northern blazing star seeds germinate in May Seedlings quickly develop 1-2 thin (<5 mm) leaves <3-cm-long. By June, the cotyledons are no longer green, but are still readily apparent. By late August, >80% of the surviving seedlings have two leaves, a few individuals have three. Surviving seedlings normally senesce for the winter by late September.

RESULTS

The Lazarus effect. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Lazarus Effect: Rejuvenation of Leaf-Senescent Seedlings in a Rare Grassland Perennial
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.